Does a loan co-signer co-own car?

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Dear Driving for Dollars,
I am listed as the co-owner on a car loan that I co-signed for. If the owner stops making payments, do I have any rights to take the car?
— Robin

Dear Robin,
You probably do, though you need to thoroughly review the loan paperwork and check the laws associated with your state to be sure. In most instances, if you are listed on the title or registration for the vehicle either with an “and” or an “or” separating your two names, you are considered to have at least partial or joint ownership. If you are listed only on the loan paperwork as a co-signer, or a secondary signer, then you may not. If you are having trouble understanding your rights, a call to the lender and/or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles should be able to clarify your rights.

If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars.